Monday, September 19, 2011

Two-Toed Tom - The Alligator Monster of the Florida Panhandle?

Florida Alligator
In the stateline counties of Holmes, Walton, Washington and Jackson in the Florida Panhandle, residents tell stories of a pseudo-mythical beast. They call him Two-Toed Tom and he is said to be the red-eyed, demon-possessed alligator monster of the Florida Panhandle.

The story of Two-Toed Tom actually originated near the stateline community of Florala, Alabama, and was first recorded by folklorist Carl Carmer in the 1930s.  On a visit to the area, he was told of a "red-eyed hell demon" in alligator form that had been eating cows and mules and even assaulting local women. An encounter with a steel trap had left him with only two toes on one foot, hence his unusual name. Dynamite failed to killed him and before finally leaving the area on his own, he was blamed not only for killing livestock, but for murdering humans as well.

16th Century Indians battle a Gator
The monster gator was last seen crossing the stateline into the Panhandle of Florida and it was not long before stories of him began to surface from the swamps around Sand Hammock Lake, a shallow body of water between the Holmes County towns of Esto and Noma. Residents of the area reported encounters with him and estimated him to be as long as 24-feet. One eyewitness even noted how she had seen him standing, dinosaur-like, on his hind legs.

From Esto and Noma the monster seems to have drifted down nearby Holmes Creek to the Choctawhatchee River, where giant alligator prints were found in the 1980s. The tracks, discovered on Boynton Island on the border between Washington and Walton Counties, were unique in that one of the feet had only two toes.

Residents of the region continue to report sightings of the monster and he is popular fare for Panhandle story tellers. To learn more, please visit

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